They may not have finished pretty, but the Anaheim Ducks made sure their start to the playoffs was as beautiful as can be.
The Ducks used four early unanswered goals to build an insurmountable cushion as they took Game 1 against the Dallas Stars 4-3 at Honda Center on Wednesday night.
Anaheim now has a 1-0 lead in the series as the teams will have the day off Thursday before Game 2 on Friday night.
After a disappointing first round exit last season, the Ducks were determined to get off to a quick start.
With plenty of orange shirts and towels in the raucous crowd, Anaheim couldn’t have asked for a better first period as they flew out to a 3-0 lead.
Kyle Palmieri got the Ducks on the board after he received a beautiful saucer pass from Nick Bonino over a diving Stars’ defender and placed his backhand nicely between the pads of Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
But the Ducks weren’t done as the third goal of the period was just as pretty as the first. After a series of nifty passing on the power play, Mathieu Perreault sent a one-timer past Lehtonen with 30 seconds left in the period to conclude a dominating 20 minutes of hockey.
Beleskey would add an insurance goal that would come in handy later in the game as a Francois Beauchemin slap shot from the point glanced off Beleskey’s leg into the net for a 4-0 Ducks lead.
However, the Stars didn’t go down without a fight.
Anaheim was called for consecutive penalties late in the second period, forcing the Ducks to kill off a 5-on-3 power play. Jamie Benn capitalized on the man advantage by sending home the rubber on an open net as Frederik Andersen had no chance to make the save on the rebound.
Only 1:33 later, Colton Sceviour cut the deficit to 4-2 as his snap shot from the right circle went right through the five-hole of Andersen.
Tyler Seguin would make things interesting as he scored with 6:07 left in the third period to set up a tense finish, but the Ducks held on to take Game 1.
In the waning seconds of the third period, Getzlaf took a slap shot to the mouth and immediately skated off to the locker room.
His status, as well as Beleskey’s who left with a lower body injury, for Game 2 is unknown.
Despite the nerve-racking finish, the Ducks will gladly take the win as they begin their postseason quest.
After all, a playoff win is a playoff win.
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